Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back to the "normal" weekend routine

This weekend I was really able to get back into the swing of things: youth group, slides and announcements during this morning's services, lunch (well, I just had tea) at Flavours, teaching the kids and the girls, and finally dinner at Ling Ling (our Chinese restaurant). It was so nice to get back into normal life once again. I'm so a girl of routine, I know some people find it boring, but because it happens so rarely in life here, it's very much clung to when there's even a semblance of normality. There of course were little quirks that made this weekend not entirely normal, but it was close enough for me. I may have had a gnarly cold, I may have ended up making some of the BEST huevos rancheros of my life, and I may have had to have a super fun confrontation with a couple of the girls I teach, but such is life. I know you may get somewhat tired of hearing this, but it's really nice to be back!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A busy week of Youth Ministry

It's awesome to be back into the swing of things. This week was one that went by so fast that i honestly can't believe it's over. One cool opportunity we've had as a youth team is that we went into two schools this week for an outreach to those who are in Senior 1 (kind of like freshmen). We brought crates of soda, Ryan and Richard led worship, and then one of them taught. It was a really neat time to reach out to a group of students we may never have gotten a chance to otherwise.

Then today, we had a little youth party (or as we call it a mwena mwena). When it was all said and done, we had close to 100 students here. We had worship, a teaching (by yours truly), and tons of popcorn and sodas. It got a little crazy at times, but it was really all worth it because it was all for Him. I just pray that the students walked away with some lessons that they'll never forget about how we are called to be different and to change the stereotypes about Christians and actually live up to the name of "Little Christ". It really was a great week, and this next week looks to be even more ministry intensive. I LOVE IT AND AM SO THANKFUL THAT GOD HAS PUT ME IN A PLACE WHERE I CAN MINISTER IN THE CAPACITY THAT I AM, IT'S TRULY ALL HIS DOING AND ALL FOR HIS GLORY!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday = "family" day

I began the day with getting to have a really quick skype convo with all the Vertical students and leaders who were at a fellowship night at my friends, the Padilla's house. It hasn't even been a week yet, and it already seems like I've been gone so long. Then we had our two Sunday services, and I learned I need to drink A LOT more water (let's just say I had a little episode of dehydration). It was awesome getting to be back and seeing a lot of the ladies I had started to get close to right before I left. Then we (Judy, Rochelle, Ryan, Malia and I) partook in our ritual Sunday lunch at Flavours. After that I tried to recover some more from the morning's "episode", and then it was play time. I read the kids some of the new books I had gotten for them and then we just all hung around outside for the afternoon, it was a nice warm day with a great breeze which made it perfect for chillaxin' with the kiddos. The missionary residents of our compound then loaded up the car and we made the trek to a cool restaurant perched right over the Nile (view is pictured above) and had AMAZING ribs no matter where you are in the world. We finally got home and all watched a good ol'e classic western musical (I know what you're thinking, and it's probably right).

It was an awesome day with my "families" but it's hard because my flesh and blood family has been going through some crazy times this week, so please just keep them in prayer. it's only been five days, but I already feel super disconnected from everything.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

First Night Back to Youth Group

So our youth group is one that you can't try and tame with any cookie cutter approach to youth groups. We have kids from 10-20 years old, middle school and high school, orphans and ones with parents, poor and rich, healthy kids and some who have AIDS. Trying to find ways to minister to them effectively is not always easy and us as a youth team are always trying to think of ways to better minister to the kids, to get them involved in ministry, help them to know their Bibles, and above all else get them to know their Savior. We went through a season of discouragement for a while with how the group was looking and honestly didn't know what to do, of course those are the times when God seems to shine the most. Tonight was my first night back to youth group and it was awesome! We had over 70 students crammed onto the veranda outside of the church and we began with some awesome worship that Ryan led and then a teaching by one of our pastors Stephen from 1 Peter, and then there was a pretty legit time of fellowship afterwards. It's encouraging to see not necessarily the numbers (although those help sometimes) but to also see the involvement of the kids, the older ones helping the younger ones find the passage, and when there weren't enough Bibles or seats the students who've been around for a while, actually got up to help out with those things. Just keep praying for our youth group, so much of me feels that we're on the brink of something really amazing, I just don't know what it is yet.


So often (and even more so in this economy) we talk about God's provision, how He's Jehovah Jireh, and we go into quoting the book of Matthew and about the lilies and the birds, and so on and so forth. Well, I'm definitely not knocking the fact that He provides materially for us what we need, because I can testify the truth of that, but this morning God opened to my eyes in a really big way another way He provides for us: spiritually. 1 Peter 1:3 says, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of HIm who called us by HIs own glory and goodness." He has provided us with everything we need to live a life that pleases Him, I mean EVERYTHING. How amazing to think about that, we have absolutely no excuse for spiritual immaturity, He knows where we're at and He knows what we need, and He wants to give it to us to help us to walk more closely with Him, but we have to make ourselves available for that and then take those opportunities when He brings them. Reading in Romans about he work of Adam vs. the work of Christ, it made me think about the HUGE gap sin caused between us and God, and how because of what Jesus did, we are able to do as Micah 6:8 says and "walk humbly WITH our God". We are able to have fellowship with Him, we can call Him our friend and our Father, but so often we take that unfortunately for granted, we forget what that really means, what a privilege that is. I mean think of the fact that you can't even get in to see your doctor without filling out a ream of paper's worth of paperwork, or get your Passport without all but signing your first born child over, but you can come to the feet of God and know Him personally, what an awesome thing it is! And what a sad thing it is that I grow lazy in taking every possibly opportunity I can to "take walks with Him" so to speak, where He can share with me what He desires from me, for Him to minister to me, and many times to rebuke me in order to make me more into the person He made me to be. I personally need to put more effort into this relationship because He truly has provided everything for me to know Him and walk with HIm, I just need to get off my butt and open my eyes to what an amazing priceless thing that really is.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 1: back to reality

After taking a magical little pill to help me to sleep through the night, I ended up waking up this morning at 11. I spent the rest of what was left of the day unpacking and trying to organize everything (note the key word "trying"). Aryanna and Kenny were spending most of their time outside my door popping bubble wrap and trying to talk to me through the window, so finally I just decided to go out and hang out with them. It was back to the usual of Aryanna trying to copy every last thing Kenny did. The older kids gradually began to come back home and so I was able to give them the gifts that some of you got for them. They were so excited and incredibly blessed. I wasn't able to hand it all out because i was trying to kind of do it in somewhat of a covert manner but here are some pictures of those who did get theirs today.

Gift Distribution

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

After going through the worst traveling experience of my life, I finally got to Uganda. One of the girls from Vertical prayed that this trip would be a memorable one, and boy howdy was that prayer answered. I know that God was in control of the whole trip, so that kept me from having perpetual breakdowns, but it was still tough. I spent some time sorting out the details of getting a piece of luggage that was lost, and finally I was able to walk out and be greeted by Judy, her daughter Malia, and Ryan. I've missed my big "brother" and "sister" so much and it was so awesome to get to see them! We stayed at a friend's house in Entebbe and afte a bout of jet lag and getting up at 5 but then falling back to bed until 7:30, we set off on our way to Jinja (with a couple of shopping stops in Kampala in between).
Getting here, I was greeted by a lot of our staff with huge hugs that really did make me melt. When I saw Kenny he just ran at me full force and gave me a huge hug. Aryanna, on the other hand, spent a little time warming up to me but by the end of the afternoon we were back to normal. I took a little cat nap, unpacked a little bit, went to service where Jess finished the book of Genesis, had my most favorite meal of Fajitas and then we had carrot cake for desert, and then ended the evening just watching a movie. It was a perfect way to end the day.
Now, I'm in my apartment with the tubs all around me and the sounds of Africa outside my window. I'm so happy to be back, although I miss everyone in the States more than I'd like to admit, I know this is home for me now. I'm so excited to see what God has in store for this next chapter of my life in Africa.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In London

It's funny because whenever you hear the word "London" it sounds so romantic almost, but really to me it's just either my last bit of western life or the first glimpse of it depending on which way I'm going. This morning was very hard, not even including having to say goodbye to all of my family and closest friends. There were so many hiccups with baggage, that I really just pray that after having to pay such a pretty penny that everything will get there ok. I even kind of lost it on the lady at the check-in counter because of all of the headaches that were coming up, I just have to remember that every aspect of this trip is bathed in prayer so what do I have to worry or complain about.

Now onto the goodbyes, I had the perfect group at the airport with me to say goobbye. This time it really was a lot less painful, it was still in the top two hardest things I've gone through in my life (the first being the first time I left) but God really did answer a lot of prayers at making it a lot easier. I just am so thankful for the support of my family especially. Having them there to pray for me and laugh with me before crying it up and heading through security is something that I'll forever treasure. I told my grandma, "I wish we all just hated eachother, because that would make this a whole lot easier". Through the hurt, God brings His peace and each and every time I just have to remind myself of how I just need to pick up my cross and follow Him.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Twelve hours and counting

It's absolutely insane right now thinking about how in twelve hours I will actually be in the air on my way to Dallas. This furlough has gone by so fast. Today was an awesome last day though of just having lots of closure and confirmation about where I'm headed. I love how our God is not a God of uncertainty, but His Word truly is that "light unto our path". After being at the church for the morning, I was able to spend the afternoon with the family which I had to begin by partaking in Blake's one last time. This was followed by some more packing, cleaning the Jeep, Dion's, and then packing again. Now it's almost 1, and I think I can go to bed with a peace of mind knowing that everything is good to go. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me to keep my sanity through all this, because your prayers have totally been answered!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The body

So you know those images that show the outside of the human body, then it shows the muscles, then bones, then veins, etc...? Well, that's what I felt like today looking back on everything that has taken place over this furlough. For so long I was stuck looking at just that first image, but little by little he's been showing me some of the others too, and it's been absolutely awesome! I have had my eyes opened to so many amazing things God is doing right here through hundreds of people. People serving in so many different capacities and so many ministries I just love it! I hear about ministries that have been in existence for years but they're just kind of like the unsung heroes of the ministry world, but that doesn't mean that God isn't using the work that ministry is doing. I have truly been incredibly privileged to witness these various ways that God is at work and the lessons I learned by being a part of them (even if it was just for a night) I hope I will never forget.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Four days and counting

Driving around today, I was thinking about just how much I really do miss all in Africa. I miss getting to study my Bible all day and then getting to share those things with others. I miss getting to just hang out with Jess, Bev, Ryan, Judy and Malia after dinner and just veg watching a movie. I miss our amazing staff and their awesome kids that I get to be around so much. I miss my litte apartment. I miss adventures to villages. I miss so much that words won't even begin to get into it. i'm ready to go back, but it's still hard to say goodbye. My last post was all about what God was teaching me, and since that post He definitely has given me that "Peace that surpasses all understanding" and I haven't had another "episode" since. I love what I do, I love the calling God has placed on my life and the people He's brought me to work alongside, but it definitely still is hard leaving my other home for two years. Right now, it's about 1:20 in the morning and I just have a feeling that sleep isn't going to be much of a thing I partake in over these next few days. I'm trying to do work, but that's not really happening and due to several people even today asking me to blog more, I thought I'd post this instead. Well, now it's time to see what else I can find to occupy the time until hopefully I drift off to dream land. Goodnight world.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A new level of transparency

DISCLAIMER: The following has been posted after much contemplation as to whether or not it should be. After wondering if my pride could handle people knowing some of the struggles I face and knowing that I most likely either: 1) am not alone in them or 2)that by sharing them, everyone might get to know what I'm really like instead of just a facade that I can put on most of the time. This blog is pretty much like a journal to me, and I'm not trying to be "preachy", prideful, or show false humility, this is me please don't judge me too harshly :).

For a while now I've been trying to just kind of avoid the difficulties of leaving (almost) everyone I know and care about for really two years this time and be 8,000+ miles away. It's weird because of how this time of preparing to leave differs from the last time. It definitely is easier in a lot of respects, and I'm definitely not bitter at God for His plan He has for me, but it's still hard to go. I've been so busy that I kind of conveniently side-step really getting too introspective, but as the day is now about a week away, it's getting harder and harder to play like everything is "gum drops and lollipops". The lessons God has been trying to teach me over the past two months are kind of what are really hitting me. It's kind of like the "debriefing time" at the end of a big event or a mission trip, where you're just trying to process it all. God is so good for how He does make us His "pet projects" and although it can hurt like a son of a gun, you know it's necessary in continuing in the sanctification process as He seeks to perfect us and make us more and more into the image of His Son.

One area that God has really been teaching me a lot in, is with being judgmental. I'm not kidding, three times in one week there was either a teaching that talked about it or just a verse I had been reading in my quiet time that mentioned it and it was kind of like I couldn't NOT get the fact that God was trying to teach me something. With maturing in our walks with God it becomes easier and easier to look at other believers and look down on them for their lack of maturity because they don't know about x, y, and z, and you consider yourself superior to them because you don't do "that", but then you come to realize that it's that very same attitude that Jesus consistently rebuked the pharisees about and Paul said to the same group in Romans "The Name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you". I've really got to guard myself of having that ungodly judgmental attitude which is very different from tolerance.

God is also good for how He teaches us the heaviest lessons in our weakest points. I've gotten right on the edge of breaking down and kind of teetered over it for about 5 minutes today and so I knew I just needed some time to "be still" and just stop and allow Him to speak to me in what is a very difficult time for me. I went to one of my favorite coffee shops, got my perfect rainy day beverage, and after some time of reading the Bible and being ministered to through that I decided to read a little Pilgrim's Progress because the teaching this weekend reminded me of what a good book that was. As I was going through it, I realized that all the verses that John Bunyan referred to were the verses that God had been using in my life before I left for Africa the first time. Then God really got my attention with Luke 14:26,27. There is a verse in Matthew that is similar and that was the one that I really had as a key verse when I originally left, but now to really comprehend the whole thing of "hating" your family just hit a whole new level. I should love Christ more than every one and everything and that my love for Him is so strong that in comparison to my love for Him my love for my family is like I hate them. That is definitely something that has to always be at the forefront of my mind when I think of how hard me leaving is on my family. But Jesus doesn't stop there, He drives it in a little deeper with how we should hate their own life and if we don't do that, we CANNOT be His disciple. In order to truly follow Him, I have to love Him with every last thing I have and not hold anything back, not worry about what anyone thinks, but just purely obeying Him and seeking to bring Him glory. Then you've got to bring in verse 27, and getting that in context is a whole other level of "WHAM!!!" Studying today about what that verse really means was awesome because you hear that verse all the time but to have it in the view of my life is pretty intense at the moment. To take up your cross is to lay everything at the feet of Jesus, your thoughts, passions, worries, plans, etc... and submit to Him and His plan (your cross). Just like when Jesus was carrying His own cross (both literally and figuratively) it was painful but He still rejoiced in it because He knew the end purpose of doing it. I need to lay all that I have at His feet and in my life, working in Africa is kind of like my cross, I need to do that with everything I have, not allowing my ideas or plans to get in the way but just seeking "not my will, but His will to be done" and rejoicing in the fact that I get to serve Him here on earth and then when it's all said and done I get to stand before Him and praise Him and see Him in all His glory.

Ok, this was really long, but there you have it. I haven't written very much in a while because I guess it was all a part of my attempt at avoidance, therefore I kind of just laid it all out there finally, and all I can say is..."PHEW!!!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I just would like to extend a welcome to all of you who have just started to follow my blog. Over the past month and a half I have met so many amazing people and I can't wait to see how God will allow us to stay in touch even from thousands of miles away. I will have to warn you that in these posts you will hear of everything from ministry events to the little life lessons God had been showing me, and I may even throw in a soap box or two so just take them in stride. To all of you who have been following this blog for a while, thank you for continued interest in all the awesome work God is doing.


RSS Subscribe

    follow me on Twitter

    Blog Archive

    Copyright Text